Sunday, January 5, 2014

'Said The Spider to the Fly' by Lois Barth

Published:  1977
Setting:  Modern Day

Heartbroken from a recent romance gone awry, Ellen Chandler is content to work alongside her sister Phyllis in their dress shop business.  But when Ellen receives a letter from her elderly uncle at the old Rutledge mansion where she resided during her childhood, she couldn’t help but take the job offer as a typist for the history book he was writing of his own family ancestry.  Since Phyllis had mysteriously left weeks earlier and Ellen had not recently spoken to her sister, she felt it was appropriate she have a holiday as well.

Yet, when she arrives at the rambling ancient house by the woods, she finds the place (and the people) have changed.  Her cousin Serena has been left mentally impaired by a mysterious accident that no one seems to want to discuss.  Though radiantly beautiful, the young girl roams the grounds, seemingly lost in her own oblivion.  Her cousin Carolyn, who has now taken over the families wealthy printing company, is as cold and plain as ever.  Her old love Paul, now engaged to a jealous beauty still proclaims his undying love to Ellen when out of earshot of all the other inhabitants.  The only hint of normalcy in the whole rambling estate is Mitch Rutledge, who keeps things running smoothly.

As Ellen immerses herself in her new job and life at the estate, Serena pulls her into a mystery more frightening than she could imagine.  Clues and evidence hint that Phyllis has recently been here and may have been murdered.  When another murder takes place and Ellen finds herself in a fight against an unnamed enemy, she wonders if she will survive to help unwind this mystery and save herself.  With Paul as her only real support in all the chaos, Ellen faces the reality that someone wishes her dead.

I loved this book and was surprised with the depth of the mystery.  I actually didn’t know who the killer was until the very last chapter, which makes for an excellent, fast-paced read.  Highly recommend this vintage read!

Rating: 5 Stars

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